Thursday, January 26, 2017

Days Like This

Here's the note I wrote on our walk-around log in the Teen Scene tonight:

Tonight I: 

- had to kick teens out of the library
- had to call the police about a car illegally parked in an accessible parking space
- had to chase out an adult couple making out on the couch in the Teen Scene

All in a day's work. Nothing more to add except that if you sometimes have days like this, just know that we all have days like this! 

My Lady Jane

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. Narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Grades 7+. HarperAudio. 13 hours 47 minutes. Review copy provided by publisher.

Take everything you thought you knew about King Edward and Jane Grey and throw it out the window. You've been told wrong. You don't have the whole story. And here it is, for the first time.

This is a wild romp through a reimagined Tudor England where a portion of the population can shape-shift into animals. A teenage King Edward sits reluctantly on the throne, dying of The Affliction. On his deathbed, he signs over the throne to his cousin, Jane Grey, a teenage girl who's recently been married to a nobleman's second son who turns out to be a horse (well, half the time, anyway).

Hi-jinx ensue as Jane, her husband Gifford, and Edward get caught up in a conspiracy to seize the throne.

My thoughts:

The tone of this book is similar to The Princess Bride and it's a wacky story that doesn't stop for a minute. There is a strong romance, but the action never goes farther than kissing (and occasionally contemplating consummation of the marriage, but never in detail), which makes it a good choice for younger teen readers or teens who like romance but aren't ready for hot and heavy action.

This is a book with a really strong feminist message wrapped up in a fun story. Jane stands up for herself, even as she's caught in a society that restricts her to certain roles. She's a bookish heroine to the extreme, even encouraging wedding guests to bring a book to the ceremony in case they get bored.

Fun and funny in its own right, the audiobook narration really elevates the story, Master narrator Katherine Kellgren gives a fully voiced performance for a large cast of characters with a wide variety of British accents. I especially appreciate Kellgren's mastery of volume as she reads - she is completely able to yell without getting shrill or blasting the listener out of their seats. I was literally laughing out loud as I was listening to this one, both due to the writing and the narration.


Definitely The Princess Bride by William Goldman for its similar wacky and adventurous tone.

Readers who liked reading about British royalty (even though a lot of it is imagined) might enjoy The Raucous Royals by Carlyn Beccia. And readers may be looking for books that will give them the real story of the Tudors, so keep nonfiction and other historical Tudor fiction in mind.

Monday, January 23, 2017

#24in48 Wrap-Up

What a fun weekend for the 24 in 48 Readathon!

I ended up finishing five, almost six, books (two of which I had started previously) and had a great time doing it. I was a little more relaxed about it this time around, aiming for 20 hours of reading and ending up with 18.5 hours of reading.

After my update yesterday, I finished one more book:

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (coming in February)

And I spent quite a bit of time with my audiobook (almost finished it!) while...

...walking at the park and....

...doing a trial run of this beer cheese pretzel ring for entertaining next weekend. 

My audiobook was Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn, narrated by Bahni Turpin, and it's really great!

All in all, it was a great weekend!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

#24in48 Check In

We're on Day 2 of the 24 in 48 Readathon and I wanted to take a few minutes to check in.

I've read for just about 12 hours total so far, and my goal is to get to a total of 20 hours before 11:59pm tonight. I think I can do it! Husband and I are definitely going to take a break tonight to catch the season premier of Mercy Street, but other than that I have nothing on the agenda but reading!

Yesterday, I finished both books I was in the middle of:

Allegedly by Tiffany Jackson and The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis.

I spent some time listening to my current audiobook, Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn, while doing some laundry and taking a long walk (it is WAY too warm for January, but it's nice for walks!). 

I started and finished The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (wearing appropriate star leggings!) and took a break to attend a LuLaRoe pop-up hosted by a friend in my neighborhood. 

And I started last night and finished this morning Pointe by Brandy Colbert. Sure wish Howie could relax a little bit. ;) 

When I read over my 24 in 48 posts from last year, one note I made for myself is that I wished I had been less focused on the numbers of hours read and allowed myself more time for social media. I am definitely doing that this year and have been checking in on Litsy pretty frequently and taking photos to share along the way. Even though I'm not going to make it to 24 hours of reading, taking more time for social media has made this Readathon more relaxed and more fun!

Husband has been making his way through his Stephen King books and taking some breaks to run errands and pick up milkshakes for us periodically. I'm so lucky! <3 nbsp="" p="">

And now it's time for... more reading! I'll see you later tonight (or maybe tomorrow morning... are you tuning in for the I Love Libraries Youth Media Awards Pajama Party tomorrow morning? I am!) for a final check-in! 

Friday, January 20, 2017

#24in48 Readathon: January 2017!

It's time for another 24in48 Readathon! The readathon runs this weekend, starting at 12:01am Saturday, January 21 and ending at 11:59pm Sunday, January 22. The idea is to try to read 24 hours out of that 48-hour period. There are over 1000 people participating and it's possible to win some great prizes!

If you, like me, are ALA Left Behind (i.e. not attending this year's ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta), this might be the perfect distraction!

So, what do I have on tap for this weekend? I pulled a huge pile of books because I like to have a lot of variety so I can read whatever suits my mood. But the books I'm most hoping to finish this weekend are these two:

Pointe by Brandy Colbert (on my TBR list for WAY too long!)
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (when my hold finally came in, I decided to save it for this weekend!)

And I've got this audiobook going: 

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn, narrated by Bahni Turpin

And I've got a ton of great-sounding ARCs on my Kindle: 

American Street by Ibi Zoboi
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

And before I even start on any of those, I need to finish these two that I'm in the middle of: 

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis (my book club book for February) and

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (OMG so good!)

As you can see, I have a very exciting weekend of reading ahead of me. I'm attending a LuLaRoe party on Saturday for a few hours, but otherwise I'm devoting the entire weekend to READING! I'll be updating periodically on here, but probably more frequently on Litsy (where you can find me @abbylibrarian as per usual!). 

Husband is joining in, too, and he's checked out a stack of thick Stephen King books from the library. He's reading through the extended Dark Tower series in this order suggested by The Truth Inside the Lie (pretty much all the Stephen King books connect back to the Dark Tower series with character appearances, etc.). 

Take that, GoodReads Challenge!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen. Grades 9 and up. Algonquin Books for Young Readers, January 2017. 240 pages. Reviewed from egalley, provided by publisher.

(Full disclosure: Kelly is a good friend of mine, but her book is awesome no matter whose friend she is!)

Description (from publisher):

Let’s get the feminist party started!

Here We Are is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist. It’s packed with essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations from a diverse range of voices, including TV, film, and pop-culture celebrities and public figures such as ballet dancer Michaela DePrince and her sister Mia, politician Wendy Davis, as well as popular YA authors like Nova Ren Suma, Malinda Lo, Brandy Colbert, Courtney Summers, and many more. Altogether, the book features more than forty-four pieces, with an eight-page insert of full-color illustrations.

Here We Are is a response to lively discussions about the true meaning of feminism on social media and across popular culture and is an invitation to one of the most important, life-changing, and exciting parties around.

My thoughts: What a necessary and impressive book!

This is a must-read collection for any teens who are interested in learning about feminism or who have heard something about feminism on social media or from others talking and who want to get the full scoop.

We hear from so many different voices in this collection; it's obvious that care has been taken to be as inclusive as possible and that will be important to readers. Readers will not only see themselves in this collection of essays, but they will be exposed to views beyond their own. 

From women who thought "feminism" was a bad word to women who were feminists and didn't know it to women whose feminism changed over the course of their lives, there are examples and experiences to teach and reach young readers.The collection includes personal essays, comics, and informational sections that define some of the common terms and ideas about feminism.

I love the scrapbook format of the book (which was difficult to tell in the egalley but looks AMAZING in print!) and I think it will really appeal to teen readers, as well.


Readers looking for more along this vein should check out the extensive list of further reading included as a resource in this book. It includes feminist fiction & nonfiction, as well as feminist films and websites by or about feminists.

Readers would also do well to check out the contributor bios at the end of the book and seek out more of their works. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Reading Wildly: Fantasy

**I just realized that I never posted this roundup from our Reading Wildly Fantasy discussion in December! Better late than never?**

My team met again for Reading Wildly and this month we discussed fantasy books. We have some lovers of fantasy and some for whom fantasy is a chore. One thing we discussed is that even books we pick up, read a little bit of, and put down can still be helpful for reader's advisory. When Becky Spratford (RA for All) visited us to present our staff day, we practiced speed reading and learned that you don't have to read an entire book to get enough information for reader's advisory.

One of my staff members mentioned that she tried several books that she just couldn't get into before she finally fell back on a favorite author for our book discussion. Well, if you are familiarizing yourself with your collection and reading parts of books, that can be helpful, too. When that fantasy fan comes up to the desk, you'll be familiar with a few more books than you were before! We're not all going to love every book we pick up for Reading Wildly because the purpose is to stretch ourselves beyond what we normally gravitate to reading.

Here's what we read this month: 
We also spent some time brainstorming and deciding on genres and topics for next year. I tried to give us a good blend of genres that were real stretches (the ones everyone groaned at) and genres that my staff didn't mind so much. We've got manga on the list for next year, which will be a stretch for all of us, I think. I'm also very excited to read and share #OwnVoices titles one month. 

January will be a Reader's Choice month to ease us into the new year and I hope to have a 2017 schedule up soon. 

In 2017, we're doing something a little new: we're partnering with GreenBean TeenQueen Sarah Bean-Thompson of the Springfield-Greene County Library District in Missouri to share our book discussions each month. Sarah and I will both be blogging about it along the way and I'm excited to expand our network of librarians and share even more titles! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Reading Wildly: Reader's Choice

We kicked off a new year of Reading Wildly this week with our Reader's Choice book discussion. I like to keep things low key for our first meeting of the year, but it's still great to get together and talk about books! Here's what we read:

Next month, we're back into our genres and topics and our topic for February is #OwnVoices. I've asked everyone to read Kayla Whaley's excellent post #OwnVoices: Why We Need Diverse Authors in Children’s Literature to help with our discussion of these titles. 

What #OwnVoices titles would you recommend??

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Librarian Tool: Evernote

'Tis the season to think about getting organized and being productive! A couple of years ago, we started using Evernote in my department and it's become a tool that we use quite a bit. (Note: Evernote did not pay me anything to write this. I genuinely find this a useful tool, so I want to share how we use it!)

Evernote has replaced our storytime plan binders, which took up a huge amount of space in our office and were never used because they were cumbersome. Evernote helps us connect and share book lists with each other and plan for our booktalk videos. We have a shared drive at our library, but over many, many years it's become cluttered with SO many folders and files that it's very difficult to use. It's also hard to remember where you saved something on the shared drive (especially with so MANY folders...).

Evernote is searchable! It has tags! It's easy to use and inexpensive. We purchased Evernote Plus so we could sync it across our computers in our department and it currently costs $34.99/year.

How do we use Evernote?

We put our storytime plans in there. This is a big one. Now, we have a searchable database of all our recent storytime plans. When yet another preschool calls asking for a fall-themed program, we don't have to start from scratch.

We put rhymes, songs, and felt scripts in there so that when we're searching we bring up those items, too. This helps us share with each other the great storytime stretchers that we have found. We keep lists of our puppets in there, too.

We keep notes about our department in there - our weeding cycle (we can cross off sections as we complete them), what displays are coming up, lists of the apps on our iPads so we can print it off for patrons.

We keep book lists in there. When we visit schools for booktalks, we keep lists of the books we shared by school. When a kid comes to our desk and remembers that someone told him about a good book but he doesn't remember what that book was, we can easily look it up.

We keep our lists of the titles shared at Reading Wildly each month so that we can easily access genre book lists to help with reader's advisory. If we need a quick and dirty genre list for a patron, we can print one off. They're easy to update as we all read throughout the year.

Have you ever tried Evernote? What do you use to keep things organized and share information in your department?